Kurtz Profiles Touby, mediabistro.com

From today’s Washington Post:

    The Manhattan soirees that Laurel Touby began throwing in the mid-1990s, where she would frantically introduce media people while sporting a feather boa, had some tangible results, she says:

    “Five marriages, three babies — one out of wedlock — and countless one-night stands.”

    Oh, and a business that recently brought her a $12 million payday.

    Touby is the founder of Mediabistro.com, and she credits its success to the “navel-gazing” nature of the news business: “We make celebrities out of media people. You take regular Joes and turn them into celebrities by writing about them. Once you’ve made someone’s colleague in the next cubicle into a rock star, they want to be a rock star. It’s the mediocritization of the media.”

    The Web site’s blogs — TV Newser, Fishbowl DC (and NY and LA), Galley Cat (about the publishing industry) — offer a mix of real-time scooplets, gossip, interviews, snark and itty-bitty items of conceivable interest only to those who work at a particular company or are related to someone who does.

    But they are the fudge desserts of Mediabistro, where the money-making main course consists of workshops and seminars, offered in cities from New York and Washington to Los Angeles and San Francisco. These, along with job listings and such features as “How to Pitch Geek Monthly,” have attracted 13,000 subscribers at $49 a year. And the site draws 949,000 visitors a month, according to Nielsen Net Ratings.

Read the rest here.